A junior suite at the InterContinental Nha Trang in Vietnam. Courtesy InterContinental Hotels Group
A junior suite at the InterContinental Nha Trang in Vietnam. Courtesy InterContinental Hotels Group

Travel news: Reduced-price trips to Myanmar



Price of small group Myanmar trips reduced

The specialist Asia tour operator Travel Indochina has introduced several new competitively priced trips to Myanmar in response to demand. The reduced-priced trips are available for all departures on small group journeys from May until March 2015.

Among the options is a 10-day "Highlights of Burma" small-group journey, which visits Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake. The itinerary includes a horse-and-carriage ride through the Bagan Plains at sunset and a boat trip to a little-visited village on the Irrawaddy River. Travel Indochina customers also have exclusive access to an "Insider Experience", visiting a local nunnery near Mandalay to share lunch with the pink-robed resident nuns. Prices rices start from US$2,977 (Dh10,935) per person, including hotel accommodation, domestic flights as specified, road transport in air-conditioned vehicles, all sightseeing and entrance fees, a tour leader and local English-speaking guides throughout, airport transfers and some meals. For more information, visit www.travelindochina.co.uk.

Emirates Holidays deals under Dh2,000

Emirates Holidays has released a series of short break holidays priced at less than Dh2,000 per person, including flights. The deals include a two-night break in Muscat, staying at the Millennium Resort Mussanah, starting at Dh1,370 per person; three nights in Bangkok, staying at the Best Western Mayfair Suites or the Mayfair Marriott Executive Apartments in Bangkok, from Dh1,999 per person; three nights in Sri Lanka, staying at the Tangerine Beach resort on the south-west coast, from Dh1,905 per person; three nights in Amman, staying at the ToledoHotel, from Dh1,860 per person; and four nights in Mumbai, at four or five-star hotels, from Dh1,850 per person. Prices include return flights, hotel accommodation and taxes, and are available until April 30. For more details, visit www.emiratesholidays.ae or call 800 5252.

New InterContinental hotel opens in Vietnam

Visitors to the beach city of Nha Trang in Vietnam can check into the new InterContinental Nha Trang, which opened last week and is the group's fourth property in the country. The 279-room hotel overlooks the coastline and waters of Nha Trang Bay and includes 56 suites. A 40-minute drive from Cam Ranh International Airport, it's in the centre of the city, which is used as a base for island-hopping, scuba diving and attractions such as the Thap Ba Hot Springs. There's a special opening promotion for bookings made between April 1 and June 30 from US$137 (Dh503) per night, including daily buffet breakfast and Wi-Fi (www.ihg.com).

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Plan to boost public schools

A major shake-up of government-run schools was rolled out across the country in 2017. Known as the Emirati School Model, it placed more emphasis on maths and science while also adding practical skills to the curriculum.

It was accompanied by the promise of a Dh5 billion investment, over six years, to pay for state-of-the-art infrastructure improvements.

Aspects of the school model will be extended to international private schools, the education minister has previously suggested.

Recent developments have also included the introduction of moral education - which public and private schools both must teach - along with reform of the exams system and tougher teacher licensing requirements.

ANATOMY OF A FALL

Director: Justine Triet

Starring: Sandra Huller, Swann Arlaud, Milo Machado-Graner

Rating: 5/5

SRI LANKS ODI SQUAD

Perera (capt), Mendis, Gunathilaka, de Silva, Nissanka, Shanaka, Bandara, Hasaranga, Udana, Dananjaya, Dickwella, Chameera, Mendis, Fernando, Sandakan, Karunaratne, Fernando, Fernando.

FULL FIGHT CARD

Featherweight Bout: Abdullah Al Qahtani v Taha Bendaoud
Bantamweight Bout: Ali Taleb v Nawras Abzakh
Bantamweight Bout: Xavier Alaoui v Rachid El Hazoume
Featherweight Bout: Islam Reda v Adam Meskini
Bantamweight Bout: Tariq Ismail v Jalal Al Daaja
Bantamweight Bout: Elias Boudegzdame v Hassan Mandour
Amateur Female Atomweight Bout: Hattan Al Saif v Nada Faheem
Featherweight Bout: Maraoune Bellagouit v Motaz Askar
Featherweight Bout: Ahmed Tarek v Abdelrahman Alhyasat
Showcase Featherweight Bout: Mido Mohamed v Yazeed Hasanain
Showcase Flyweight Bout: Malik Basahel v Harsh Pandya

What is the FNC?

The Federal National Council is one of five federal authorities established by the UAE constitution. It held its first session on December 2, 1972, a year to the day after Federation.
It has 40 members, eight of whom are women. The members represent the UAE population through each of the emirates. Abu Dhabi and Dubai have eight members each, Sharjah and Ras al Khaimah six, and Ajman, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain have four.
They bring Emirati issues to the council for debate and put those concerns to ministers summoned for questioning. 
The FNC’s main functions include passing, amending or rejecting federal draft laws, discussing international treaties and agreements, and offering recommendations on general subjects raised during sessions.
Federal draft laws must first pass through the FNC for recommendations when members can amend the laws to suit the needs of citizens. The draft laws are then forwarded to the Cabinet for consideration and approval. 
Since 2006, half of the members have been elected by UAE citizens to serve four-year terms and the other half are appointed by the Ruler’s Courts of the seven emirates.
In the 2015 elections, 78 of the 252 candidates were women. Women also represented 48 per cent of all voters and 67 per cent of the voters were under the age of 40.
 

SPECS: Polestar 3

Engine: Long-range dual motor with 400V battery
Power: 360kW / 483bhp
Torque: 840Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 628km
0-100km/h: 4.7sec
Top speed: 210kph
Price: From Dh360,000
On sale: September

A little about CVRL

Founded in 1985 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, the Central Veterinary Research Laboratory (CVRL) is a government diagnostic centre that provides testing and research facilities to the UAE and neighbouring countries.

One of its main goals is to provide permanent treatment solutions for veterinary related diseases. 

The taxidermy centre was established 12 years ago and is headed by Dr Ulrich Wernery. 

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

The specs

Engine: Single front-axle electric motor
Power: 218hp
Torque: 330Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 402km (claimed)
Price: From Dh215,000 (estimate)
On sale: September

Most ODI hundreds

49 - Sachin Tendulkar, India
47 - Virat Kohli, India
31 - Rohit Sharma, India
30 - Ricky Ponting, Australia/ICC
28 - Sanath Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka/Asia
27 - Hashim Amla, South Africa
25 - AB de Villiers, South Africa/Africa
25 - Chris Gayle, West Indies/ICC
25 - Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka/ICC/Asia
22 - Sourav Ganguly, India/Asia
22 - Tillakaratne Dilshan, Sri Lanka

The specs

Engine: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 620hp from 5,750-7,500rpm
Torque: 760Nm from 3,000-5,750rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh1.05 million ($286,000)

KLOPP AT LIVERPOOL

Years: October 2015 - June 2024
Total games: 491
Win percentage: 60.9%
Major trophies: 6 (Premier League x 1, Champions League x 1, FA Cup x 1, League Cup x 2, Fifa Club World Cup x1)

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

WHAT IS THE LICENSING PROCESS FOR VARA?

Vara will cater to three categories of companies in Dubai (except the DIFC):

Category A: Minimum viable product (MVP) applicants that are currently in the process of securing an MVP licence: This is a three-stage process starting with [1] a provisional permit, graduating to [2] preparatory licence and concluding with [3] operational licence. Applicants that are already in the MVP process will be advised by Vara to either continue within the MVP framework or be transitioned to the full market product licensing process.

Category B: Existing legacy virtual asset service providers prior to February 7, 2023, which are required to come under Vara supervision. All operating service proviers in Dubai (excluding the DIFC) fall under Vara’s supervision.

Category C: New applicants seeking a Vara licence or existing applicants adding new activities. All applicants that do not fall under Category A or B can begin the application process through their current or prospective commercial licensor — the DET or Free Zone Authority — or directly through Vara in the instance that they have yet to determine the commercial operating zone in Dubai. 

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian

Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).

Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming

Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics

Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Biography

Favourite drink: Must have karak chai and Chinese tea every day

Favourite non-Chinese food: Arabic sweets and Indian puri, small round bread of wheat flour

Favourite Chinese dish: Spicy boiled fish or anything cooked by her mother because of its flavour

Best vacation: Returning home to China

Music interests: Enjoys playing the zheng, a string musical instrument

Enjoys reading: Chinese novels, romantic comedies, reading up on business trends, government policy changes

Favourite book: Chairman Mao Zedong’s poems

How Islam's view of posthumous transplant surgery changed

Transplants from the deceased have been carried out in hospitals across the globe for decades, but in some countries in the Middle East, including the UAE, the practise was banned until relatively recently.

Opinion has been divided as to whether organ donations from a deceased person is permissible in Islam.

The body is viewed as sacred, during and after death, thus prohibiting cremation and tattoos.

One school of thought viewed the removal of organs after death as equally impermissible.

That view has largely changed, and among scholars and indeed many in society, to be seen as permissible to save another life.

UAE v Gibraltar

What: International friendly

When: 7pm kick off

Where: Rugby Park, Dubai Sports City

Admission: Free

Online: The match will be broadcast live on Dubai Exiles’ Facebook page

UAE squad: Lucas Waddington (Dubai Exiles), Gio Fourie (Exiles), Craig Nutt (Abu Dhabi Harlequins), Phil Brady (Harlequins), Daniel Perry (Dubai Hurricanes), Esekaia Dranibota (Harlequins), Matt Mills (Exiles), Jaen Botes (Exiles), Kristian Stinson (Exiles), Murray Reason (Abu Dhabi Saracens), Dave Knight (Hurricanes), Ross Samson (Jebel Ali Dragons), DuRandt Gerber (Exiles), Saki Naisau (Dragons), Andrew Powell (Hurricanes), Emosi Vacanau (Harlequins), Niko Volavola (Dragons), Matt Richards (Dragons), Luke Stevenson (Harlequins), Josh Ives (Dubai Sports City Eagles), Sean Stevens (Saracens), Thinus Steyn (Exiles)


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